No Chalk for Classrooms in Ghana?

Sun, 19 Jul 2015 Source: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley

The recent remark by the 2nd Lady of Ghana, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur at Kukurantumi Presbyterian Primary School regarding supply of chalk to schools in Ghana has exposed the Ghana Education Service (GES) 'big time'!

No wonder my good old friend, Mr Michael Nsowah, a former Director-General of Ghana Education Service (how are you doing, Mr Nsowah?) in a radio interview (Adom FM) on Thursday, July 16, 2015 criticized the 2nd Lady of the land of not being knowledgeable with Ghana's education reform documents. He buttressed his criticism with the fact that, ' page 48 of the FCUBE Document mandates government to provide the essentials like chalk, pens, log books, registers and others for school....' I couldn't but agree with my veteran professional friend the more! For, even in the more advanced countries like Canada, chalk is being used in the classrooms.

Perhaps one can excuse Mrs Amissah-Arthur on the grounds that if the GES did its mandate well the primary school at Kukurantumi would not have appealed to the 2nd Lady for chalk! However, chalk is essential to teaching in school and ought to be seen as such, especially in a country like Ghana so lack of it in our schools is a problem.

Unfortunately, some Ghanaians are already playing politics with the issue! Some are questioning the wisdom of the Headmistress of the school who received donations of computers and accessories from the 2nd Lady, for asking for chalk instead of scholarships for students! One may ask: What is the wisdom in the government supplying shoes to students at the expense of supplying chalk to schools?

All politics aside, I have a humble suggestion for the GES. The GES must strongly advise the government of the day on priorities for the classroom as far as Learning & Teaching Materials (LTM). I use to be a resource personnel in LTM in the 1980s while I was teaching in Ghana. I even published a booklet on LTM for Training College Students and Classroom Teachers titled 'PRACTICAL TEACHING MADE EASY' in November, 1987 which was in hot demand in most of the then Teacher Training Colleges in Ghana. In the booklet, I emphasized under 'Non-Projected Materials' the importance of the chalk as an essential chalkboard companion! Though times have changed, technology has developed, the role of the chalk as LTM is still important in the classroom!

As being practiced in School Boards in Canada, teachers are given individual budget by which they order their classroom essentials like chalk, paper, exercise books, crayons and others at the beginning of every school year. Such orders are co-ordinated by the school board and purchased from reputable distribution centres which ship the orders directly to the schools. Can't the GES do the same through its districts?

Teachers need chalk in our schools so LET THERE BE CHALK IN SCHOOLS!

Columnist: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley